Ten Tips to Keep Kitty Cool

Cats are actually better than dogs at adjusting their inner thermostat, but on very hot and humid days they can still become easily overheated. If your cat is outside, he or she will do little more than lie about in the shade and sleep. Indoors, your kitty will need you to keep the house regulated for optimal temperature. Many cats will go into basements and other areas that are cooler. Unlike dogs, cats don’t generally pant unless they are extremely over heated. Thus, if you see your cat panting, get her out of heat immediately. The following steps should help keep Puss comfy during the lazy hot days of summer:

  1. Make sure your cat(s) always have fresh, cool, clean water available, even if they are outdoors.
  2. Indoor cats should have access to a basement or cool darkened room if the home is not air conditioned.
  3. Don’t let your cat run around too much. Most cats won’t in hot weather, but kittens and young cats might not know better. Keep them calm.
  4. Provide dry food so they can have a nibble when needed.
  5. No special cool areas? Place ice packs under towels in your cat’s bed or create a bed using a cardboard box (cats love cardboard boxes), or use a hot water bottle with cold water for the cat to lie on. Remember to check on ice and cool water, as it will warm up quickly.
  6. Be careful not to close a cat into a hot room when going in and out of both indoor and outdoor rooms and buildings. Check before closing the door.
  7. This can’t be said enough… Do NOT leave a cat in a closed up car in hot weather, not even in the shade. People think of dogs mostly when it comes to hot cars, but if you travel with your cat, he or she will need the same consideration. Even in shade, cars become ovens within minutes on hot days.
  8. Tiles indoors can feel cool to a cat, so allow them into bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc.
  9. If your cat is panting or can’t seem to find a cool location, mix rubbing alcohol and water and apply to ears and paw pads. The evaporation will cool the blood that circulates through the ears and reduce the overall body temperature.
  10. Groom your cat. Keep your cat groomed and get rid of mats! This is especially important in long haired cats. Mats will not allow the heat of the animals’ body to escape and they will overheat more quickly.

Read more…. http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/christine-church

Orphaned Kittens

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to care for 5 orphaned kittens that were left in a box on the steps of a church in a nearby town. Most of my experience is with adult and feral cats, but I am okay with hand feeding for a few days. My time caring for the kittens got longer until, starting last Monday, July 1st, I ended up with them full time.

Within a day or two, one of the kittens stopped taking the bottle. Because they are right about 4 weeks old, I offered her canned food, which she gobbled up. After that, she refused the bottle altogether. This was well and good, as she was eating well, until I ran out of the canned food she loved so much. The shelter I volunteer for provides the food, and replaced the food with a completely different brand and flavor. She refused that as well. A day later, I managed to get cans of the original food she had loved (which is going out little by little and getting hard to find), but she refused it as well.

The next thing I knew, this little tiny life that was in my hands was in danger. And I did not have the experience to save her.

I contacted the shelter owner, and she came over with Lactated Ringers (bag of fluids, like what you see hanging on IV hooks in the hospital) and needles. We gave her some fluids subcutaneously (this I am familiar with, as I have done it a million times with adult cats). The difference was, this little thing was much harder to get some loose skin on and way too small for a line running down; hence we used a needle and syringe and gave the fluids like a shot.

Two days and she was not getting any better. She had diarrhea severely, refused any food other than a tiny bit of human meat flavored baby food (chicken flavor to be exact), and I was force feeding her formula. Even with the formula, the fluids several times a day and some baby food, plus some appetite stimulants and tummy settling meds, she was just not getting better!

At this point, I knew I needed extra help. The shelter owner had provided me with all the information she could, so I contacted a friend whom I know is an expert at caring for kittens. She came over and took a look at the kitten. She said she has seen worse. She brought with her all sorts of “weapons” to cure whatever might be ailing this little cutie, including dewormers, anti-diarrheals, Nutri-Cal and special prescription foods. She explained that first we need to get rid of her diarrhea and that this kitten was not too bad off… her gums were still pink and I had given her fluids so she was hydrated.

I talked to her, asking if she could maybe take the kitten for a day to get her “jump started.” I knew she could do more for her than I could, and I was moving my horse to a new barn (third barn in a week… long story) and was stressed enough and was not going to be home. Since it was weekend, she would be home, so she agreed.

This is where we stand now. I will get the kitten back tomorrow night, hopefully in a better state and on her way to eating once again.

Five Tips for a Happy New Kitten

Kittens need friends


When you adopt or acquire a new kitten, you become responsible for an innocent life that fully relies on you for its utmost and thorough care, for the animals’ ENTIRE life, however long that may be. Use the guidelines below to make your kitten’s life a good one and so he/she will grow to be a happy and healthy cat.

  1. Introductions: Whether or not you have other pets in your home, introduce your new kitten(s) to your home or pets slowly. Keep the little tyke confined to one room if possible, for the first day. Make sure he/she has fresh, cool water and plenty of kitten food. Know what your kitten was eating before you acquired it, so you can match the diet, at least temporarily. If you will be switching foods, mix the old with the new over time until the kitten’s digestive system is accustomed to the new food. (generally, with kittens, you will feed 3 times a day up until 6 months of age and then down to twice a day). You can keep dry food down at all times as a snack and feed small amounts of canned food if you wish. This is recommended, as kittens have enough energy to burn fat fast and one or the other can cause a skinny kitten. Though, like any of us, each kitten’s metabolism varies, so keep an eye on your kitten’s weight. Introduce everything very slowly and be patient. Make sure you pet knows where the litter box, food and water is located at all times. And make sure your kitten has LOTS of love and attention. He/she will be very frightened in this new environment, especially is adopted alone. It is fine to carry your kitten around the house in your arms to see the sights, making sure other animals do not come into direct contact, not right away. Acclimate slowly using scent, as cats are very scent oriented. Give your new kitten a cozy fleece blanket or a soft towel to sleep on and get his/her scent all over. Do the same with your resident pet(s). Switch after a day or two. Get them used to one another’s scent. Please take your time. It will be worth it in the long run and could prevent bad experiences that might lead a lifetime of trouble. You can try feeding them near one another when you are ready, providing your resident pet is not food dominant!! A dog, particularly, might snap at a cat that is near its food. So, please use utmost caution. Even a small dog can cause a little kitten harm….

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Keep Free Roaming Cats off the Streets

When I wrote my book, House Cat, How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Sane & Sound, it was the mid-1990’s and the movement to keep cats indoors was not completely new (believe it or not, people have been keeping indoor cats since the beginning of the domestication of cats), but was spreading throughout the world.

My book at the time was innovative. The whole point was to create an environment perfect to the cat’s needs based on the cat’s nature, thinking and desires.

Since the publication of the first book (the Revised Edition came out in 2005), keeping cats indoors has become extremely popular, and those who believed cats needed free roam have become the minority. This is good for cats, as there are less disasters from outdoor dangers.

But what many “outdoor cat” advocates do not realize is that this is good for humans as well. Back in 2009, I wrote an article about cats being “mini ecological disasters.” This was simply one observation based on a few words quoted by a TV chanracter, however the truth behind it is astonishing.

Read the Rest: http://www.examiner.com/article/keep-free-roaming-cats-off-the-street

Rare October Autumn Storm Leaves Cats Cold

November, 11, 2011:

October 29, 2011 was an historic date. Winter Storm Alfred, almost two months before the start of winter, dumped various amounts of snow all over the Northeast. From Maryland to Maine, millions lost power as trees, still heavy with leaves, grabbed the dense saturated snow and ripped boughs and branches to the ground, taking down lines right along with them.
In Connecticut alone, almost a million people were without electricity. For a week or more, many spent their time in dark, cold homes. Many abandoned their homes to stay with friends and relatives who had power or generators.
Cats, however, had to stay home, or worse, outside in the dark.
So, what’s the big deal? you ask. Cats have fur coats, so they were under no danger of the cold (unless of course you have a Sphynx, or one of the other rare breeds with little hair).
Jake watches Winter Strom Alfred

Winter storm Alfred left the state of CT in a state of emergency.

Read the Rest of this Story here: http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/rare-october-autumn-storm-leaves-cats-cold

Territorial Marking: Cat Be Gone?

Roger needed to reclaim his territory

The number one reason cats are given away is due to urinating in places other than the litter box. There can be so many reasons for this and so many ways to stop it, I could write an entire book just on this topic alone.

However, the other day my brother brought his cat home (for the second time) and the cat started to immediately urinate all over the house. Everywhere. To get behind the reason for this, first you have to know the back story.

My brother, Correy, adopted his fluffy orange male cat from me as a foster for a Connecticut shelter (CT Cat Connections) for whom I volunteer. The cat came to me as “Sophie,” a pregnant female. I questioned the friend who brought the cat to me; “You sure this is a female??” I asked. The cat had a head the size of a lion and the most masculine looking face I’d ever seen. I was assured this cat was a pregnant female and I didn’t feel like fiddling through the massive orange fur to check so I took their word for it.
Two months went by and no kittens. Finally, I decided to check. Not only was this cat NOT a pregnant female. HE was a neutered male. By this point, my brother had fallen for the loving cat, who by now was living amongst all my other cats and doing great. So, he adopted him.
Roger, as Correy renamed him…more aptly I might add, settled in quickly. Correy and his wife had 3 other cats: Bella, Gilligand and FC (for Fat Cat). Bella and Gilligan are bother young cats around 2 years of age that they had gotten when they were kittens. FC, however, was an elderly man who had come from my sister-in-law’s previous home in Michigan. FC had a bad habit of urinating outside the litter box, particularly on area rugs, which were fortunately portable and washable. Puppy pee pads were put down in other areas where he liked to go.
Everything went along great for several months until FC began to get very ill. At this point, Roger took it upon himself to try and play veterinarian and put the sickly cat out of his misery; he began attacking, viciously.
My brother and his wife wanted FC’s last days on this earth to be pleasant (it turned out he had stomach cancer, but was still holding his own), so back to our house came Roger, temporarily. He fit right back in with my brood and settled in as if he hadn’t left.
Two months later, FC passed away and Roger went home. The first thing he did was urinate all over the house! My brother contacted me in a panic. So, I explained it to him. The first part of this is simple; Roger needed to reclaim his territory. Secondly, he could still smell FC in the house and, not knowing the cat was gone, only exacerbated the issue.
This is not a common situation, but territorial marking is a common occurance! I told my brother that once Roger had his territory restaked, he would stop. Correy had only to keep a bottle of enzymatic cat urine remover handy. Plus, they were soon to be re-painting the home’s interior, and that would help as well, as it would give a fresh scent to the home that doesn’t smell like any of the cats. They will all have a chance to acclimate to the new scents as the painting is done and no one will feel a need to be territorial.
Roger stopped marking by that afternoon. That was even quicker than I had planned, but a good thing. He wasn’t known to be a sprayer anywhere else so I knew this would not be a permanent behavior. In FC’s case, urinating outside the box had been a habit he had developed a long time before (probably due to the fact he had been declawed. Indescriminate urination is common when cats are declawed). Once psraying or urinating in specific locations is developed, it can be hard to stop. But, in Roger’s case, this was not normal for him. So, I was able to assure my brother itr was only temporary.
So, remember, if your cat is doing something bad. He has a reason! Don’t give him up. Find out what they reason is and what can be done. Is it temporary? It could be something that a slight change can fix as well. You wouldn’t give up your human child simply because of bad behavior, would you? Well, would you? (By the way, if you would, then you better not have kids…or cats!)

X-Cats: Mutants of the Cat World

Push face Persian

Some mutations cause health problems

You have probably heard of X-Men, whether in comic books or the movies. But what you might not know is that mutants are living among us right now. No, these mutants are not in human form, nor are they in Ninja Turtle form. These mutants are in the form of felines. Some mutated to the point of no longer resembling our precious purring pets, but something out of a comic book themselves.

You have seen them many times. One of them is the USA’s most popular purebred cat. You probably have seen one and not known that it was a mutant.

Simply put, a mutant is “a sudden departure from the parent type in one or more heritable characteristics, caused by a change in a gene or a chromosome; an individual, species, or the like, resulting from such a departure.” This definition is courtesy of dictionary.com.

Within any biological organism, mutations can and do occur naturally. The moral question comes in when people find these mutations “cute” and actually breed to heighten them. Selective breeding has been responsible for many mutations that are not only unnatural, they are downright unhealthy.

In the cat world, mutations are all around us. Below are some of the most common:

  1. The popular Persian is a mutation that has been, through the years, deliberately bred for exaggeration of features. Persians are said to have roots that go back as far as 1684 BC. But back then, their “claim to fame” was their gorgeous long coats and gentle demeanor. The long coat of the Persian in and of itself is a “mutation” in that it does not occur naturally within a wild setting. No one knows for sure when the first long-haired cat showed up, but Persians are one of the first documented long-hair breeds. The Traditional (or Doll Face) Persian cats had faces with less exaggerated features. Today, however, the facial mutations seen in the breed, and encouraged by cat breeding organizations, are making for a cat with a variety of health issues. The nose of the flat-faced Persian is virtually between the cat’s eyes, causing enhanced breathing difficulties and runny eyes, amongst other health-related issues caused by overly selective, line and in-breeding. The Himilayan cat has basically unergone the same selective mutational structure.
  2. In-breeding and line breeding are necessary to develop mutations and there’s none so obvious as the Sphynx cat. Once upon a time in 1966 in Toronto, a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was mated with its mother and that union produced one more hairless kitten. Later on, other naked kittens were found and voila! The Sphynx was developed. However, problems ensued. The gene pool was very sparse and many first-attempt kittens died!  Many of the females suffered convulsions.  Prune’s last 2 descendants (brother and sister) were sent to Holland in the 70s. However, the male had no interest in breeding and the one litter that was conceived from him passed away. Prune’s last surviving descendant was mated in 1978 and 1980 with another unrelated hairless kitten, also found in Toronto. The one female who managed to conceive lost her litter as well. It seemed the Sphynx mutation didn’t want to go on, but humans are a stubborn breed. The last remaining Prune descendent had been neutered so that ended Prune’s line. Only hairless females remained, so breeders bred them to Devon Rex males who had sparse amounts of fur. In the mid 1970’s two hairless barn cats were born in MN and they play an important role in the history of the Sphynx breed. Other hairless mutations were born in various areas of the USA and breeding with Devon Rex’s halted due to severe health issues. Health problems are not a huge problem in the Sphynx, but the lack of fur (they do have a fuzz) means plenty of baths as the oils build up on their skin (also causing acne), and keeping them warm is a must. You might recall my Examiner story about the Sphynx kitten that froze to death at an airport here in Connecticut.
  3. Scottish Fold. As the name states, the Scottish Fold cat has folded ears (from a dominant-gene mutation) and hails from bonnie Scotland. The tale begins at a farm when a cat named Susie was found near Coupar Angus in Perthshire SCotland in 1961 (the ’60s seemed to be a great decade for mutants).  Susie had an unusual fold in the cartilage of her ears and when she had kittens, 2 of them also had the folded ears of their mother. A farmer named William Ross took one of the kittens and subsequently registered the breed with the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy). From there, with the help of a geneticist, more and more of these kittens were produced. A true human-made genetic mutant. Susie, who was unfortunate enough to have an owner who allowed her outdoors, was killed by a car. However, all Scottish Folds to date can be traced back to Susie. Health-wise, Scottish Folds should not be bred to one another; the result of such an undiluted mutation can cause (1 in 4) bone deformities in offspring. As such, Folded cats are generally bred to straight-eared cats.
  4. American Curl. The result of a spontaneous mutation, the American Curl hails from California and appears to be the opposite image of the Scottish Fold. Instead of folding forward, the ears fold backwards. One of the “newer” breeds of cat, the American Curl breed developed when 2 stray kittens, both long hair, one black and one white, were discovered in 1981. One disappeared, so the other was bred and the American Curl was born (seriously, though, if you found an unusual kitten with an interesting mutation, would you let it outside??). In 1983 the American Curl hit the show world and in 1987 was given championship status with The International Cat Association (TICA). An interesting fact about the American Curl is kittens are born with straight ears that don’t start to curl until about 10 days old.
  5. The Munchkin is the result of a naturally occuring genetic mutation that causes the cats to have unusually short legs. The gene that causes this has been compared to the same gene responsible for the Basset Hound, Dachshund and Welsh Corgi dog breeds. A large and important varation, however, is the lack of spinal problems in the Munchkin that is associated with the dog breeds mentioned. The exact origin of the Munchkin is unknown as short-legged cats have been sighted all over the world.The first documented Munchkin in the United States was in 1964 but that cat did not reproduce, so the breed didn’t make another documented appearance until 1983. Today’s Munchkins descend from this cat. The breed was accepted into the New Breed Development Program by TICA in 1994. Many tests have been done to determine the overall health of the Munchkin cat, and besides a few rare cases of bone disorders (that can be found in other breeds as well), Munchkins are happy and healthy cats that can run and jump as if they had normal-sized legs.

So, in short (no pun intended towards the Munchkin), should mutations be encouraged? Should geneticists be messing with the natural order and creating cats that nature would reject? Should humans be allowed to cross-breed and back-breed and line-breed with the sole purpose of developing a mutation so severe it produces mutants with health issues? And should people buy into these mutations? The answers are as varied as the cats themselves




Continue reading on Examiner.com The X-Cats: Mutations of the Cat World – Hartford Cats | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/the-x-cats-mutations-of-the-cat-world#ixzz1SKt1Vr9p

Caution When Flying with Cats

With the summer season almost upon us, people will be doing more flying, and that includes cats. Whether taking Tabby on vacation, moving to a new location or flying a new kitten from a breeder to your home, precautions should be taken when flying with your pet.

  1. Make sure there is enough room. Airlines resrict the number of animals checked in on each flight, whether in the cargo hold or taken into the cabin, so call ahead to be sure.
  2. There are fees associated with flying pets that can be quite expensive. Make sure you know these fees in advance.
  3. Remember, most airlines only allow one carry-on bag, so if you choose to bring your cat in the cabin with you, he/she will be considered one bag and you won’t be allowed another (which, in my book, is a moot point since the cat has to ride under the seat and takes up no room).
  4. One-way fees to check your pet as cargo include $100 on Alaska; $150, Frontier; $175, American; $200, Delta; and $250, United. Continental allows pets to travel in cargo with its PetSafe program and charges based on weight of the animal and the kennel combined. Only service animals are allowed in the cabin at no additional charge.
  5. Earlier, I posted an article about a cat that froze to death in the cargo hold here in Connecticut. Be sure you are always aware of where your pet is and if the weather is extreme, be sure to ask that your pet be removed from cargo immediately during lay-overs.
  6. Some airlines have outside-temperature restrictions on when animals can fly. For example, American won’t allow pets to fly when the temperature is above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees at any location.
  7. Also keep in mind the restrictions pertaining to your location. Some areas and countries have quarantine laws for animals coming into the country.
  8. Make sure your pet is very healthy, has been vet checked, and has had all innoculations and proof of them from a licensed veterinarian. Always best to be more prepared than under prepared.

    Continue reading on Examiner.com Cautions when flying with cats – Hartford Cats | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/cats-in-hartford/cautions-when-flying-with-cats#ixzz1SEOygQ1V

Clean Kittens and Litter Box Issues

Cats Like a Clean Litter Box

Keeping the Litter Box Clean Will Help Ensure Kitty Uses it.

Today, a friend I have not seen in awhile, called me with a “cat question.” Her husband works as an animal control officer and 4 kittens came in, so he separated them 2 in one cage and 2 in another. For some reason, 2 of them in one cage were as cats are suppo9sed to be: clean and tidy and using their litter box. Yet the 2 in the other cage were quite the opposite: avoiding the litter box and going all over the cage and, hence, themselves.

This is an unusual situation, as cats are by nature clean animals who try to avoid “dirtying” themselves.  She stated that her husband took the advice of a friend and put some of the kittens’ waste into the litter box and put the kitten in there to “give him the idea,” but it didn’t work.

I suggested the reason it didn’t work was probably because the 2 that were being messy more than likely already know how to use the litter box and might be experiencing some sort of separation anxiety that for some reason the other 2 are not. One of the kittens (a clean one) was adopted, so I told her to put them all back together again and see what happens. Hopefully it’s not too late.

The subject of cats and litter boxes is a big one in cat ownership. Though cats do naturally like to be clean and bury their waste, they will also veer away from the litter box if a physical or psychological issue should arise, particularly an issue that involves the litter box itself. Changes in environment can also upset a cat to the point where their only communication resource is to avoid the litter box.

  • One of the most common reasons for cats to stop using the box is the controversial issue of declawing. Removal of the bones in the toes and the claws is painful and often the cat’s attempt at scratching the litter will cause pain that makes the cat associate the litter box to the pain, thus causing avoidance.
  • Another common avoidance factor is cleanliness. As was said above, cats are naturally clean animals that usually don’t like to soil where there is too muchy soil! Keep the litter box clean.
  • Changes to your cat’s routine can also contribute to psychological upset that can be presented as litter box avoidance.
  • Too many cats and not enough litter boxes can be a big issue unless you’re always on top of the boxes to keep them spotless.
  • Keeping the litter box too far away can upset some cats, particularly old, handicapped or in any way frail or feeble cats. If it’s too hard to get to the box, why bother?

For the most part, cats will “tell” you their reason for avoiding the box. You just have to listen!

Hissing Kitty

It will take time for her to trust.

Her name, as the shelter gave her, is Lightning. But it just does not fit her. As I watched the new foster kitten in her cage (a large dog crate with littler box, food, water and the softest blankets I could find) a more appropriate name came to me. Victoria. She is so pretty and delicate, it seemed a much better name for her.

And so, though her shelter name may be Lightning, that’s not what I call her. In any event, Victoria is a frightened little kitten. They said she was about 3 months old, but I checked her teeth… she is four months. She’s a pretty pretty girl. The hiss she lets out when first anyone goes near her cage belies her beauty. She even spits and bats out with her paw. But stick your hand in and pet her, and she relaxes out and purrs. She even stretches out and lets you pet her belly.

You might wonder why such opposite reactions?  Let me see if I can explain with a true story. My part feral kitten Binx was in the hallway the other day…. Usually this is no big deal anymore; I walk out of the bathroom and he sees me and lays there till I walk by and he either runs if he is a playful mood or he stays put. I shut the bathroom light off and stepped out, down the hall. His eyes must have not fully adjusted and he must not have been complately aware of my presence because as I stepped down the hall (it was suddenly very dark) he let out a hiss that would curl your nose hairs! He rarely if ever hisses anymore. He used to act like the most vicious cat in cat history. But he’s part of the family now, and he follows me around, rubs against me and wants to be pet (still won’t let me pick him up though). But I had startled him and for a second he thought I was a stranger. The feral in him came out. And this is a behavior that can occur on occasion throughout the life of a former feral.

With Victoria it is fear that makes her hiss and spat. She had some very bad experiences, different from those Binx had, but bad nontheless. She knows most humans are okay, but still, instinct tells her to be cautious and let those who approach know she means business. But, hiss or not, the moment I stick my hand in there and start to pet her (she does not scratch or bite), the domestic feline comes out nd she purrs and stretches out.

It will take some time, but Victoria will come out of this. She just needs to learn to trust again. My Binx is getting so much better even with people other than myself. He is slowly allowing others near him. Victoria, in time, will learn as well.